@2017 by ChrIs Rennison-Rae

Shoes, Socks, Smiles and Laughter

I love a good drive into the countryside, this morning was a trip out to the beautiful Matfen Hall to the wedding of Anna and Alan. I said my quick hello’s to the bride and her bridesmaids in their PJ’s and then went to the meet the parents who were keeping the dress under wraps. Apparently everyone was expecting Anna to have a dress that was fitted and slim, so to see a huge dress, with a long train and a long veil was going to be a surprise to all.  It looked beautiful.

Leaving the dress behind, I went back next door.  Each bridesmaid had their own colour of shoes which was to be matched with the groom & groomsmen. The bridesmaids were in turn, having their makeup done and I caught Anna having her next glass of champagne. I captured a few more of those gorgeous details details, before heading to see the groom,

When I got downstairs, Alan was standing like the master of ceremonies having his first pint of the day. I did manage to pry him away from the bar long enough to get outside for a few photos of him and the best man. I think you will all agree that the next shot is stolen by Alan's nephew, rocking his own tux and upstaging the adults.

Heading back inside to chat to the wedding co-ordinator, there was one moment that Alan was talking about being all relaxed and the wedding coordinator put on Anna's entrance music, there was a visible moment where he straightened up and went “oh my gosh” reaction to hearing it (ok that language might have been toned down)

Giving the bride and groom a few minutes without being followed by me. I went outside to set up a photo with my gear for the next shot and then pulled them out for 2 minutes. Then a quick dash into the courtyard before the first dance was called. 

I always try to borrow (or steal) the rings and was told that if I lost them, I better not be coming back, but also could I be a getaway man for the best man too.

With the girls all ready and holding their flowers it was about time to walk down Matfens exquisite staircase to the patiently waiting Alan and the congregation downstairs (Anna may have been running a few minutes late)

This was the moment that Anna had her wobble, nearly loosing it in a bunch of tears. This is one of those moments that I utterly love as a wedding photographer, seeing those moments and being there to capture them. It makes it so worthwhile, the "oh I'm about to lose it", "no I'm ok", "no I'm about to go" before finally being ready to walk out.

It was time for me to see Anna and the bridesmaids for the final preparations, the final touches of makeup and for "the dress" to be put on. I just utterly love Anna’s dads face when he sees her in her dress for the first time.  I can give you a few guesses to find Anna's sister Laura in the photo below, but the answer is she was currently crawling under the dress sorting all the layers out.

I love venues with enough space to move around during the ceremony, its also why I wear soft soled shoes, I know this might sound like an odd thing to mention but, it helps me not to make a clack walking around, There is nothing worse than the photographer disturbing the day. it's also why I carry two cameras, so one has a longer lens on to be able to capture those close moments without having to constantly mess about swapping lenses

A beautiful ring exchange went perfectly apart from one thing, someone might have been a little nervous, Alan commenting later that his mam had even told him to moisturise his hands before trying to get the ring on. It did cause some great moments of laughter and smiles.

Step forward Mr and Mrs, congratulations. A step outside and a glass of champagne and a bottle of beer later and we have two happy people.

After all the guests had poured outside, the pile of confetti was thrown and we all headed onto the front lawn for some wind to catch the veil.

A beautiful speech from Anna’s dad and from Alan. Then a revealing speech by the best man which incurred a few reactions from the groom in disbelief that the best man had even mentioned the "group chat from the stag do".

Something that I knew about but was a secret from the guests, was a magician arrived after the meal, I must say I’ve seen a few magicians but this guy really took it to the next level. Even giving me one of the best photos for a caption competition I’ve had.

After the their meal we popped outside, while the guests were finishing theirs for a few photos, with the bridesmaids following soon after.

The afternoon guests too enjoyed the Magician being amazed and stunned when he made multiple balls appear from one, stole watches & keys and even made a lit cigarette disappear without a trace through someone's jacket.  I was suitably impressed.

Before the evening guests arrived, Anna had wanted to get her make up checked just in case. She came to me, as  earlier in the day she had that moment that most brides do, and looks down and says."I have no bag or pockets" and then had given me her room key. However, what made me laugh was her mums comment of “you've been married 30 mins and you’re already giving your room key to another man” I headed up with the bride to get her makeup touched up before all night guestes had arrived. I took the opportunity to take some photos of Anna on her own with the amazing light through the windows at Matfen.

With a lot of the evening guests arriving I even managed to crash a few selfies from a distance and a number of candid shots of everyone enjoying themselves.

I then packed up a few bits and pieces and as I was coming back to capture the first dance I spotted a ring shining through the door way.

With the lights going down, Alan had expressed an interest in capturing the beauty of Matfen and the trees around dusk. So the three of us headed out and across the lawn, Anna's dress in her hands to manage the steps.

Did I mention about the socks? Well we managed to get everyone together for a quick sock shot. After which Anna turned to me and said "do you want a photo of my Garter?" my reply was "Do you want a photo of the garter? Maybe Alan pulling it off with his teeth?" the second one of my questions was meant to be a joke but off Anna dashed to ask Alan. It came back with a look of... Is he joking?  and with that we headed up stairs to grab a photo

First dances, a moment just like the ceremony where all the guests are standing on show for everyone to see. I I love the magic of the first dance and moments it creates, but that was nothing compared to the cutting of the cheese.

And with those happy memories I left the bride and groom to enjoy their frivolity and headed home for the long drive home.

Congratulations to you Alan & Anna

If you liked this please feel free to leave a comment below. It would be great to hear from you! 

I’ve been at a few weddings where the bride was picked up by the groomsmen but this time Anna and her bridesmaids decided to pick up the groom. With Alan at 6’5 this might have been a tall ask, and it certainly was with Alan being profoundly dropped and getting a few misplaced grabs to hold him from crashing to the floor. Although, it did give a great set up shot for the second one.

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